An Open Letter to “Cat Callers” from a Rape Victim 

Dear “Men”,

 Let’s talk about “complimenting” a woman a.k.a. “hitting on” a woman.

 Giving one snide “compliment” is one thing, but continuing your “compliments” after being ignored is another. I am a victim of rape. One, I might add, that has recovered rather well. Since my “event” I have been able to build loving and trusting friendships, I have fallen deeply in love and I enjoy and live my life to the fullest every day. Despite feeling like I have overcome this terrible tragedy, I need you to know how much your catcall actually affects me.

 Some days I wake up and I vividly remember how a man forced himself on me. Some days I wake up and I don’t give it a second of thought. Some days, I want to crawl in a safe dark hole and hide there until I feel confident enough to stand up.

 Even though I consider myself a strong and confident woman, when you make advances towards me, it puts me in a position where I feel very uncomfortable. If that is your goal, to make me feel weak and helpless, well congratulations, you have succeeded. But let me warn you... that may not come without consequence.

Rape has a weird series of effects on the mind and body. I’ve lived through the pain and mental anguish of being completely out of control. As a result of that, one tends to control a lot of things around them. At one point, I tried to control every friendship and every relationship. This was damaging to my growth, as I am sure you could assume, because no one likes feeling like they are being controlled or smothered. It’s a coping mechanism, really. I felt out of control, therefore I controlled others. It’s dangerous. I am pretty much back to a balanced state and have since taken control of my life, but don’t think for one second that my animal instincts won’t kick in and try and control a situation where I feel threatened.

 See, I haven’t yet mastered my anger from being trapped underneath a man against my will. Sometimes, I receive great pleasure thinking about how much more violent I would be the next time a man tried to disrespect my body. Because of my “event”, I feel like I have become similar in character to a snake. I am comfortable, hiding in my corner, safe and alone, until someone enters my space and I come shooting out of my hole, fangs first.

 I am also highly intellectual. It’s crazy how many books you read and how much you learn when you are trying to recover from such adversity. I have had a lot of time to think about degrading and emasculating come backs to perverts like you and most of the time, I am not afraid to use them. Typically, if you get me on a good day, I will wait to pull out the really dehumanizing ones for when you are in front of your buddies. It’s become kind of an art. Maybe I’ll start an Instagram or twitter, just so I can build my arsenal.

That isn’t the person I want to be though. I am sure I can further balance myself with more yoga or meditation, but I am only human. It really shouldn’t take that much common sense to let a sleeping dog lie. If I don’t respond, it’s because your comment isn’t worthy of my response. If I ignore you, it is because you haven’t shown me that you are worthy of my respect. If you need to build your masculinity up by demanding my attention, well, I assure you that will only result in a decrease of your “manhood”.

 I hope that you don’t have a daughter one day that is affected by sexual abuse or rape. She will need your sensitivity, your respect, your compassion and your chivalry that I am not so sure you would be able to provide. Any woman, not just rape victims, should be treated like they are human beings, not your piece of property. I understand that you do what you do because you need to build yourself up on the inside, but if you tried showing a little humility, rest assured that it will show you some grace. Men get treated like men. If you are tired of being treated like a little boy, stop acting like one.

 This article is dedicated to Gabriel, a representative at the Box Galaxy in Mission Valley, Ca. Gabriel quickly noticed how uncomfortable I was while being inappropriately confronted by a male patron at the store. He handed me my change and immediately offered to help carry my few items to the car. Gabriel then apologized for the customer’s behavior and made me feel very safe and appreciated. He was an instant reminder to me that gentleman exist. Instead of instantly getting bitter, I had such a wonderful example of exactly the opposite type of man that was making me so uncomfortable. Thank you to Gabriel and I hope that other men read this and decide to take action when they see a situation like this occurring. Whether it’s stepping in and defending the woman or offering her a hand to her car, you never know how much that could mean to someone. Gabriel had no idea I was a victim of rape. He just chose to be a gentleman regardless.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mara Shultz is a young entrepreneur that prides herself on being a Jack Of All Trades. She is an award winning songwriter and a founder and partner of Market Share Consultants and The Online Kitchen Designer. She leads Ring The World Together as a RE:definer, supporting and building a community for victims of sexual abuse/assault, molestation and rape. With over 5 years of sales and marketing experience in the home improvement industry she has learned  training techniques and hopes to create thousands of successful advertising and marketing campaigns.

 Mara has a love for writing blogs, mostly in a sarcastic tone. She is known for witty, off of the wall posts, professionally, and writes raw and vulnerable personal blogs. You can follow her on www.ringtheworldtogether.com/impacts or her LinkedIn page www.linkedin.com/in/marashultz